May 2018: Social Media & the Public Sphere in Africa
Professor Pius Adesanmi (Professor, Department of English Language & Literature and Director, Institute of African Studies)
This is an intensive three-week course that will explore the rise and explosion of social media and its intersections with new media, youth culture, politics, economics, governance, and social issues in Africa. Africa is often described as the continent with the most expansive youth demographic – with more than half her population under the age of thirty. This youth demographic has transformed Africa, literally and metaphorically, into what has been called the cradle of the social media revolution. However, because of the heavy reliance on social media mobilization by the social and political movements that have rocked the continent in the last decade, especially the Arab Spring, social media as a tool, space and site of meaning in Africa has largely been reduced to questions of political radicalism and mobilization. While paying attention to the role of social media in social movements, this seminar will move beyond this limitation by exploring the role of social media in creating new spaces of meaning and culture in Africa. We shall explore social media and the economic revolution in Africa in terms of the emergence of a new demographic of innovators, inventors and entrepreneurs. The course will entail field trips to innovation hubs in Nairobi. Kenyan social media influencers have also been lined up for class visits.
This course was held at the United States International University, Nairobi Kenya